Archive of ‘conference’ category

Non-verbal communication as social proof

I recently attended the Exact Target’s Connections 2011 event, a user conference on interactive marketing. One of the takeaways from their education sessions came from the speakers – although they weren’t speaking at all.
Social proof is a tried and true tool of persuasion. We know that consumers are much more likely to listen to what their peers think than to be swayed by messages coming from brands. That is the reason why customer testimonials and product reviews are so effective for websites looking to make a sale of some kind.
Besides the overt types of social proof we see online, there are plenty of ways to convey how you feel about a company in a more subtle way. It’s been said that over half of communication is delivered non-verbally through body language. That’s unfortunate for some of the speakers I witnessed trying to present at the show.
Many of the sessions I was in featured a panel, with each speaker taking a turn at the podium while the others waited. Take a look at the view from the audience.
The poor speaker (who is out of the frame here) is trying to make a point that he thinks is important while sharing the floor with these guys.
They even work for the same company! They are basically telling the room full of people listening “don’t bother tuning in at this point, there’s nothing exciting here. You might as well check your phone for new email.”
This wasn’t the only session either. I wish I would have snapped a picture of the first class of the day when the panel was still waking up. They were literally yawning on stage, totally undercutting the presenter.
The panels weren’t all this way. Contrast the scene above with this one taken a little later in the day. (Sorry for the phone picture but it’s hard to snap a photo when the speakers are actually alert.)
These panelists are actually giving their speaker some eye contact and following along. Much more respectful and helpful to the audience too.
Just an observation that little signals can communicate a lot to the audience, either online or offline. And a note to self – next time I’m speaking on a panel I’ll have to remember to buy some coffees for the group on stage!

Overhead at the SEOmoz Pro Training Event

SeoMoz’s Pro Training Series wrapped up yesterday and I learned a lot listening to these company insiders talk shop. Here are a few of the quotes overheard during the event that are worth repeating:

On responding to negative reviews

“Remember that the unhappy customer isn’t the audience for your response.”

David Mihm @davidmihm

Using Google Analytics effectively

“Top level performance measures aren’t helpful. Look at micro conversion events to find what is happening with your business.”

Joanna Lord @joannalord

Business process

“When SEO is institutionalized, it dies on the vine.”

Marshall Simmonds @mdsimmonds

Keyword targeting in content

“After you’ve built pages for high- and mid- volume keywords, use tools to keep the super long tail words in front of you as you write your content. Including them naturally within your copy can help in aggregate.”

Tom Critchlow @tomcritchlow

Visual distractions on landing pages

“If it doesn’t directly contribute to the current transaction, get rid of it.”

Tim Ash @tim_ash

“Rankings are a milestone, not the goal.”

Seth Besmertnik @besmertnik

Waiting for Google to reward your big link

“Authority links don’t always add instant value.”

Wil Reynolds @wilreynolds

Building links manually

“Your best links are the ones competitors can’t get.”

Rob Ousbey @robousbey

Designing link bait

“Ask your audience about linking to your content before you write it and do it on the phone.”

Rob Ousbey @robousbey

Encouraging community participation


“Reduce the friction to participate.”

Rand Fishkin @randfish

Writing headlines that stand out

“Use active language and include references to current events.”

Ian Lurie @portentint

“SEO strategy is product strategy”

Laura Lippay @lauralippay

On @bhendrickson‘s new LDA data on language usage on-page

“Remember 45 minutes ago when we thought that links were really important?”

Rand Fishkin @randfish

Presenting data

“The sexiest report is a phone call.”

Will Critchlow @willcritchlow

“Engage people, not sites.”
Tom Critchlow @tomcritchlow

Here are the slides from the presentations at the event.
http://www.seomoz.org/dp/presentations-seminar-2010